By Prudence Minayo
Manu Chandaria is a well known Kenyan businessman and philanthropist. He was the chairman of comcraft for years before retiring and during his reign the family business saw massive growth. It went from small to a multi billion business. The business has been alive for more than 100 years now.
The well known businessman is also passionate about helping others, especially by promoting health and education. He revealed to The Standard a while back that education and health are the two most important things in any given society. This is because with good health one can afford to get an education which will in turn broaden their thinking and possibilities.
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He also practices Jainism, a religion that advises against hurting others whether in word or speech and is also against the shedding of blood, even that of animals. This is the reason he is a vegetarian as he believes every animal deserves to live. He also has five suits only unlike most billionaires with a multitude of them.
Manu Premchand Chandaria was born on 1st March 1929.
Saurashtra, the father of Manu Chandaria, moved to Kenya in 1915. He started a shop along Biashara street. Manu grew up in Ngara, Nairobi and would assist his father in the shop.
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For primary and secondary education, he attended schools in Kenya then proceeded to India for an undergraduate degree.
In 1949, he left Jamnagar India University, Bombay with a Bachelor of Science. He then went to Oklahoma, US for a Bachelor in Engineering at University of Oklahoma. Upon graduating, he proceeded with his Masters degree in the same university before returning to Kenya.
Chandaria is married to Aruna. The two have been married for more than 6 decades and in an article published by Nairobi Wire, he said marriage needs to be nurtured.
“ My wife and I have been married for 65 years now. For a marriage to last that long, you need to have common goals, respect each other, have patience and accept each other’s shortcomings,” he said.
The couple married in 1955 at the Visa Oshwal centre in Mombasa in a simple informal wedding and it was not until 2019 that they solemnised their union at the Registrar of Marriages’ office in Sheria House. Chandaria’s wife is 86 years old.
He further added that in marriage it is the little things that count.
Manu and Aruna have two kids, Priti and Neal Chandaria.
Upon going to Kenya from the USA, he began working in his father’s business which had since grown. He would begin to work in the business alongside members of his family to make Comcraft successful multi billion empire it is today. He put in hours and really worked hard to make the business a success. He once revealed that at times they would go to bed at midnight and be up by 5 in the morning just to make the business a success. As a company, they have had their own shares of challenges, have lost assets and even been driven out of some markets. Despite this, they continued to work hard and even went back to markets that had spit them out, like Ethiopia.
Manu Chandaria is also a member of the Global Leadership Council and the chairman and patron of Global Peace Foundation in Africa. From the year 2010, he has been a speaker in all Global peace Festival conventions. He also played a key role when Kenya hosted the Global Peace Convention in 2010.
The Global Peace Foundation in Kenya was nominated for the UN Person of the Year Award in 2013 under his chairmanship. The nomination was due to its role in empowering the youth through entrepreneurship and a culture of service.
Comcraft has branches in different countries of Africa and in each of them there is a Chandaria foundation that aims at helping those in need. Sir Manu believes in helping the needy in society. It is the reason he has taken so many chairmanship positions-to be able to change the lives of people. He was chairman of the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund for ten years. His name in Kenya is almost synonymous to philanthropy and is attached to a number of hospitals and foundations.
Theft At His Muthaiga Home
The industrialist was the latest victim of robbery when his house was broken into by two armed men and money stolen in what police believe is an inside job. A statement made by the couple at the Muthaiga Police Station reads in part:
“They ordered the reportee [sic] and his wife to give them money at gunpoint. He showed them the safe where they broke it and took away an unknown amount of money and some pieces of jewellery. They then left the house while firing using a G3 rifle…..”
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